Events such as forum, conferences, and workshops are amongst numerous other purposes a very popular and effective marketing tactic. For one, they present a great opportunity to position your brand as a though-leader in your particular industry. And whether the content is created entirely by you or you bring various industry experts on board, your brand will be in the spotlight not only during the event, but before and after that for a considerable amount of time.
But as much as an event can positively impact your brand, there are lots of associated risks that may have the opposite effect; a poorly organized event will not only leave your audience disappointed (especially if they had to pay participation fees), but may as easily damage your brand’s reputation and overall perception.
Here are some important tips to keep in mind (and at heart) when organizing an event, whether you’re doing so for your own brand or for a client’s.
Planning is King!
As with most endeavors in life, a successful event is one that has been planned out carefully and meticulously. If you have your mind set on organizing an event, your very first step is to prepare a thorough project plan that is accessible to all team members and stakeholders involved.
It’s probably more fun to dive straight in and roll-up your sleeves and get to work, but the less you plan from the get-go, the more you have to plan down the line – and ultimately discover that you forgot a bunch of critical tasks which can make your life really difficult once you’re close to your event’s date.
Meet often and frequently
We make it a habit to meet at least once a week to discuss the details of a current event we are working on. However, the closer we get to the event, the more frequent we get together until we reach a point when we meet every morning. And if it’s a really large or complex event, we even meet twice each day.
These needn’t be long meetings, but going through the master-check list together as a team and discussing details, obstacles, etc. will play a critical role in ensuring all are on the same page and moving toward the same outcome. Again, you really want to make sure that nothing is falling between the cracks.
Pay attention to the details, and don’t cut corners
We’ve seen events that cost hundreds of thousands, yet ended up being flops because some details that were ignored became a huge issue. This could result from something as ridiculous as a busted wireless microphone because the battery is dead and there’s no spare on hand. Sounds silly? It does happen.
Computers that fail to connect to projectors, noisy speakers, and burned-out light bulbs are some of the petty things that can ruin an entire event. And these incidents often happen because someone thought it might be worth to save a few extra JDs by not renting backup equipment, or relying on the venue’s in-house (free) sound system that hasn’t been updated since the stone-ages.
When it comes to events, you simply can’t cut corners. Everything has to have a backup plan, you can never rehearse often enough, and there is no such thing as excessive double checking.
Focus on the content
Want to really impress your audience and keep them talking about your event for a very long time after it ended? Focus on the quality, relevance, and delivery of your event’s content. This will be your most critical key to success.
Even if you want to keep your event at a very low budget, if you have the right content that’s delivered by great speakers/ presenters, you’ll have a winner. Remember, people attend events to learn, explore, engage, and network. Having said that though, we want to reiterate the importance of organizing an impeccable event. Even if your means are very limited and you can do only little, do it little but do it right.
Make it a convenient experience
Now that you have a great agenda and topics that feature an amazing line-up of speakers, you need to focus on making the entire event experience as convenient as possible for those who attend. This is not limited to the event itself, but starts from the minute someone visits the website, registers online, pays the fees, and extends all the way through providing post-attendance feedback.
Here’s the thing; people commit to attending events only reluctantly. They usually – even if only subconsciously – are looking for an excuse to postpone the commitment (and payment) to a later point in time. Preferably as close to the event as possible. As such, any obstacle or complication they encounter will provide the needed excuse and will result in a non-registration.
The solution for that is to simplify and streamline the entire process as much as you humanly can. You also need to test all phases over and over until you’ve got all the little hiccups ironed out and dealt with. And this all includes a whole lot more than the process of registering for your event; you need to pay equal attention to arrival and check-in, receiving badges and event bags, handling refunds, and so forth.
Listen to your audience
No matter how many events you organize, you’ll learn something new each single time. It’ll not only enrich your event management skills, but it will also make your participants feel more appreciated and valued.
But this is not the only time when you need to listen to your participants, especially that post-event surveys are reactive. You should start the process of engaging your audience – and soliciting feedback – way ahead of the event itself. And you can do this quite easily by fostering online discussions about topics, speakers, and so forth using your typical social media channels such as Facebook/ LinkedIn groups, or better yet – a dedicated blog or discussion forum.
About the Author
Pinnacle Business & Marketing Consulting is a results-driven boutique consulting firm that specializes in providing clients with practical and pragmatic solutions to their business and marketing challenges.
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